VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man has been charged with second-degree murder in a Virginia Beach homicide case.

Virginia Beach police announced Oct. 2 that the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office upgraded Rory Jefferson’s charges now that the victim has died.

Rory Jefferson

Police say the assault happened back on June 12 around 10 a.m. in the 300 block of Tomahawk Trial, off N. Great Neck Road behind the Food Lion.

Jefferson caused significant injuries to Ryan Smith, police say, who later died at the hospital on June 26. Jefferson was initially arrested and charged with aggravated malicious wounding, but the charge was upgraded following Smith’s death. 

WAVY picked up court paperwork, which outlines the nature of the offense. It states Jefferson allegedly bashed Smith in the head three times with a landscaping paver during an argument. Jefferson, the court document states, claims self defense.

Ryan’s son, named after his father told 10 On Your Side that couldn’t be farther from the truth, said neighbors told him Jefferson has mental health issues.

“He had psychological issues and I guess was off of his meds and just broke one day,” he said.

He was living in Ohio when he heard of the attack.

“He said that he just kept going and going until my dad wasn’t moving anymore,” he said.

He became emotional remembering more about that moment.

“It was devastating,” he said, “We hadn’t spent a bunch of time together in a long time, so it was just a lot to deal with to come down here and have to make last minute decisions for him.”

One of those decisions included what to do after his dad was taken to the hospital.

Court documents state that doctors said Smith only had two options: 1, to stay in a vegetative state and 2, death.

Ryan said he just wants two things to come out of this tragedy.

“I just wish there was more help for people who have psychological problems, so this doesn’t happen and I hope that justice is served.”

The document says the two men were roommates.

Jefferson is being held without bond.